Did you know that snow leopards are the only big cats who can’t roar? If that wasn’t adorable enough, they also wrap themselves up in their furry tails to protect themselves from the cold. Although these may sound like traits of a cuddly character in a Disney cartoon, snow leopards are fierce predators. They have strong bodies, are able to leap nine metres high, and can kill prey up to three times their height! Wild.
Their thick white-grey patterned coats allow them to seamlessly blend into the rocky mountains and they have a reclusive nature, so they’re rarely sighted in the wild. This elusiveness has earned them the nickname ‘ghosts of the mountain’.
Gorgeous and enigmatic, snow leopards are fascinating large cats that are native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. They can currently be found in 12 Asian countries but unfortunately their populations are shrinking. It’s thought that snow leopards have lost 20% of their population over the past twenty years, leaving as few as just 4000 of them in the wild.
Sadly, their endangerment is due to human behaviour. Hunting is a major factor - snow leopards often prey on livestock and are subsequently killed by local farmers in retaliation. They’re also victims of poaching, both for their pelts and for their body parts, which are used for traditional Chinese medicine.
Habitat loss is another major threat, with climate change a significant factor. It’s thought that greenhouse gases will shrink the alpine zone and cause a shift in treelines in the Himalayas, leading to a loss of 30% of the snow leopards’ habitat. Additionally, human settlements are encroaching on their habitats and fragmenting their population. This is a tragedy for snow leopards because having a wide hunting range is incredibly important to their wellbeing and their survival - male snow leopards usually have a huge hunting range that spans up to 80 miles.
However, it’s not all bad news for these precious big cats because the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is working hard to help the species thrive. To protect snow leopards, they work with communities in the Eastern Himalayas to monitor the big cats and educate goat herders on the importance of them to reduce the number of snow leopards slain as a result of preying on livestock. As well as reducing humans-leopard conflict, they stop mining taking place in their habitats and control the illegal wildlife trade.
Our brand-new collection features some gorgeous speckled Snow Leopard socks, with each pair purchased helping the WWF to continue their amazing work to save snow leopards. If you want to help protect these gorgeous large cats this winter, head to our shop to buy a pair of these stylish and sustainable socks that save species.